CLIMATE POLICY OF UZBEKISTAN: IMPLEMENTATION OF MEASURES TO PREVENT CLIMATE CHANGE AND ADAPTATION IN THE MOST VULNERABLE SECTORS OF THE ECONOMY
Global climate change is one of the most serious problems of today, which affects all countries of the world and turns into a significant obstacle to sustainable development. The observed warming causes extreme natural phenomena around the world, such as droughts, hurricanes, debilitating heat, fires, torrential rains and floods.
Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states are among the countries that are most susceptible to environmental disasters.
As the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev noted, today every country feels the destructive effects of the consequences of climate change, and these negative consequences directly pose a threat to the stable development of the Central Asian region.
According to World Bank experts, if by the end of the XXI century, while maintaining the current pace, the average temperature in the world will increase by 4 degrees Celsius, then in Central Asia this indicator will be 7 degrees. As a result of global climate change over the past 50-60 years, the area of glaciers in the region has decreased by about 30%. By 2050, water resources in the Syr Darya basin are expected to decrease by up to 5%, in the Amu Darya basin - up to 15%. By 2050, the shortage of fresh water in Central Asia could lead to an 11% drop in GDP in the region.
In order to implement measures to prevent climate change and mitigate its negative consequences, a number of regulatory legal acts have been adopted in Uzbekistan.
In particular, in 2019, the law "On the Use of renewable Energy sources" was adopted, which defines benefits and preferences, features of the use of energy sources in the production of electric and thermal energy, biogas in the use of renewable energy sources. The Ministry of Energy of the Republic has been designated as a specially authorized state body in this area.
The decree of the Head of our state "On accelerated measures to improve the energy efficiency of economic and social sectors, the introduction of energy-saving technologies and the development of renewable energy sources" dated August 22, 2019 approved the Target parameters for the further development of renewable energy sources and the "Roadmap" for consistently improving the energy efficiency of economic and social sectors, as well as the development of energy based on renewable sources, introduced the procedure for compensating expenses.
The Resolution of the President of Uzbekistan "On approval of the Strategy for the transition of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the "green" economy for the period 2019-2030" dated October 4, 2019 approved the Strategy for the transition of the country to the "green" economy for the period 2019-2030 and the composition of the Interdepartmental Council for the Promotion and Implementation of the "green" economy.
Comprehensive measures are being implemented in the country aimed at deepening structural transformations, modernizing and diversifying the basic sectors of the economy, and balanced socio-economic development of territories.
Accelerated industrialization and population growth significantly increase the need of the economy for resources, increase the negative anthropogenic impact on the environment and the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.
In order to improve the system of public administration in the field of environmental protection, institutional reforms have been carried out. On the basis of the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Management, two independent ministries were formed – agriculture and Water Management, the State Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection, the Hydrometeorological Service Center were completely reformed, and the State Forestry Committee was established.
Measures are being taken in the country to improve the energy efficiency of the economy, reduce the use of hydrocarbons, and increase the share of renewable energy sources. Thus, by 2030, it is planned to double the energy efficiency index and reduce the carbon intensity of GDP, ensuring access to modern, inexpensive and reliable energy supply for 100% of the population and sectors of the economy. It is planned to save 3.3 billion kW in the economy of Uzbekistan in 2020-2022 due to energy efficiency measures.h of electricity, 2.6 billion. cubic meters of natural gas and 16.5 thousand tons of petroleum products.
In parallel, measures to combat the depletion of water resources are being strengthened. As part of the implementation of the Water Resources Management Strategy of Uzbekistan for 2021-2023, it is planned to actively introduce water-saving technologies, including drip irrigation. Thus, it is planned to bring the introduction of water-saving irrigation technologies from 308 thousand hectares to 1.1 million hectares, including drip irrigation technologies - from 121 thousand hectares to 822 thousand hectares.
Special attention in Uzbekistan is paid to measures to minimize the consequences of the drying of the Aral Sea. Desertification and land degradation in the Aral Sea area occurs on an area of more than 2 million hectares.
By creating protective green spaces on the drained bottom of the Aral Sea (1.5 million hectares have been planted), Uzbekistan is increasing the territories occupied by forests and shrubs. Over the past 4 years, the volume of planted forests in the republic has increased 10-15 times. If until 2018 the annual volume of forest creation was in the range of 47-52 thousand hectares, in 2019 this indicator increased to 501 thousand hectares, in 2020 - to 728 thousand hectares. Similar results were achieved, among other things, due to the expansion of the production of planting material.
The State Program for the development of the Aral Sea region for 2017-2021 has been adopted, aimed at improving the conditions and quality of life of the population of the region. In addition, the Program of integrated socio-economic development of Karakalpakstan for 2020-2023 was approved. In 2018, the International Innovation Center of the Aral Sea Region was established under the President of the Republic.
Against this background, Uzbekistan stands for cooperation in the field of water resources on the basis of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, mutual benefit and good faith in the spirit of good neighborliness and cooperation. Tashkent considers it necessary to develop mechanisms for joint management of transboundary water resources in the region, ensuring a balance of interests of the Central Asian countries. At the same time, the management of the water resources of the basins of transboundary watercourses should be carried out without prejudice to the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Uzbekistan has become an active participant in global environmental policy by joining and ratifying a number of international conventions and relevant protocols in the field of environmental protection. An important event was the accession of Uzbekistan (2017) to the UN Paris Climate Agreement, under which commitments were made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by 10% by 2030 compared to 2010. To achieve this goal, a National strategy for Low-carbon development is currently being developed, and the issue of achieving carbon neutrality of Uzbekistan by 2050 is being worked out.
Uzbekistan is making active efforts to mitigate the disastrous consequences of the Aral Sea ecological disaster.
The United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Human Security for the Aral Sea Region, established in 2018 on the initiative of the President of Uzbekistan, provides a single platform for cooperation at the national and international levels to address the environmental and socio-economic needs of communities living in the Aral Sea region, as well as to accelerate efforts to achieve global Sustainable Development Goals.
On October 24-25, 2019, a high–level International conference "Aral Sea Region - Zone of ecological innovations and technologies" was held in Nukus under the auspices of the United Nations. On the proposal of the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, on May 18, 2021, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a special resolution declaring the Aral Sea region a zone of environmental innovations and technologies.
The initiative of the head of Uzbekistan was positively received by the world community. The Aral Sea region became the first region to which the General Assembly granted such a significant status.
At the SCO summit in Bishkek (June 14, 2019), Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed to adopt the SCO Green Belt program in order to introduce resource-saving and environmentally friendly technologies in the organization's countries. At the 14th ECO Summit (March 4, 2021), the Head of Uzbekistan took the initiative to develop and approve a medium-term strategy aimed at ensuring energy sustainability and broad attraction of investments and modern technologies in this area.
At the third Consultative Meeting of the heads of Central Asian States, held on August 6, 2021 in Turkmenistan, the President of Uzbekistan called for the development of a regional program "Green Agenda" for Central Asia, which will contribute to the adaptation of the countries of the region to climate change. The main directions of the program may be the gradual decarbonization of the economy, rational use of water resources, the introduction of energy-efficient technologies into the economy, and an increase in the share of renewable energy generation.
In general, against the background of the actualization of the international climate agenda, the long-term policy of Uzbekistan in the field of environmental protection is aimed at further improving the environmental situation in the Central Asian region.